Why am I here?
What is God’s will for my life?
Does life have any meaning?
I wish God would just tell me what he wants from me!
Ever had these thoughts? Yeah, me too. Wouldn’t life be so much easier if God just told us everything we needed to know about our lives and the future? Maybe. Maybe not.
You see, I believe that the future is not set. I don’t believe in predestination. I don’t believe that God has only one path laid out for you that you will end up following no matter what. That’s not biblical. That’s not our God. Our God has chosen to limit himself in this regard. Is God omniscient (all knowing)? Yes! Is God omnipotent (all powerful)? Yes! But is God omni-controlling? No. He let’s us choose.
When God created the world and put mankind right in the middle of it, he gave us both freedom and responsibility. The universe is ours to fill, to explore, to shape, to cultivate. It is also our to care for and protect. But we are not automatons bound by Asimov’s three laws of robotics. We can choose for ourselves what to do, where to go, and how to treat others.
So if God has given us free will, then why even talk about his will for our lives? Just because the Bible doesn’t support the popular ideas of fate and/or destiny doesn’t mean that our lives have no meaning, no purpose, to direction.
When I was in school and it came time to write a research paper, I hated it when the teachers would allow us to choose any topic we wanted. Some kids loved it. I did not. There are an endless number of topics on which to write! How can I choose just one? I much preferred it when the teacher would either assign us a topic or at least give us a list from which to choose.
But in those classes where the teacher let us choose our own topics, they still had expectations about the paper. It had to be so long with this many references. Twelve-point, Times New Roman font. Double spaced. Title page. Bibliography. Correct spelling and grammar. The topics could vary from “How Tootsie Rolls Are Made” to “The Rise and Fall of Bell Bottom Jeans,” but the expectations for how the paper was formed would always stay the same.
God lets you choose the topic for the research project that is your life. He let’s you choose your college, your career, your spouse, how many kids you have, where you live, where you shop, etc. But the expectations of how you present the final research project remain the same.
Check out these verses:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?To act justly and to love mercyand to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:17, 23-24)
These are just a handful of passages that point to the bigger picture. Under the old covenant, God laid out everything for them. Everything was spelled out. Certain people were born to do certain jobs. Every requirement that God had was spelled out for his people.
But did it work? No. No it didn’t.
So now we have answers to our questions, but they are not necessarily the answers we want.
What is my purpose in life? You purpose is to fear God and keep his commandments.
What does God expect from me? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with him.
Seriously, what am I supposed to do with my life? You are supposed to love God and love your neighbor.
What has God created me to do? You are created to do the good works that God has already prepared.
But what about my college major and future career? You can choose whatever you want as long as you do it in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God for the opportunity. And when you land that job, remember that you are working for the Lord and not for man.
The journey of Ecclesiastes is very true to life. Qohelet goes on a wild ride, chasing after women and sex and drugs and parties. He goes off on business ventures, undertakes massive building projects, and gathers wealth beyond belief. And yet nothing gives him the fulfillment he is looking for. In the end Qohelet boils life down to three simple words: Remember Your Creator.
The narrator picks up at the end and spells out a little bit of how to go about remembering our creator. He says, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” It’s very similar to what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
You want to know God’s will for you? His will is that you live your life above the sun. Ecclesiastes is a book about life under the sun. Life under the sun is vain, meaningless, a chasing after the wind. But when our focus shifts from the things of this world to the things of God, then we begin to live life above the sun.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)
I don’t really think God cares what college you attend, what major you choose, what career you pursue, or what man/woman you marry. Because if you are living life under the sun, then each of those choices will be the wrong one. But if you are living life above the sun (with your heart seeking God’s kingdom, with your mind set on things above, loving God and others, fearing God and keeping his commandments), then each of those choices will be the right one.
Are you living your life under the sun or above the sun?